Many people already know that pregnancy risks tend to increase as women move through their 30s. But new indications suggest the father's age could matter just as much, with one of the most recent studies saying that kids born to older fathers tend to be taller, but with higher cholesterol.

"Our study shows that increasing paternal age at childbirth is associated with taller stature and reduced adiposity but a less favorable lipid profile in their children," researchers wrote.

Father's Age and Influence

The study involved an examination of 277 children, aged three to 12, whose fathers were between 19 and 52 at the date of birth. The researchers found a somewhat grey area in which results overlapped when the fathers were between 31 and 35 years old. Because of this, children who were born when their fathers were ages 31 and over tended to be an average of two centimeters taller than those born when their fathers were ages 30 and under, MedPage Today reported.

However, children who were born only when their fathers were over 35 also had less abdominal fat (12.2 percent) compared to those who were born when their fathers were under 30 (15 percent).

Although the researchers wrote that "slimmer children of older fathers may have a lower risk of obesity in adulthood," these children had significantly higher levels of cholesterol when compared to children born to fathers ages 35 and under.

The total cholesterol to bad cholesterol, HDL, ratio was 12 percent higher among children whose fathers were ages 31 to 35 and 16 percent higher among children whose fathers were over 35. Higher ratios increase risk of heart disease.

The concentration of good cholesterol, LDL, was 11 percent and 21 percent higher in those born to fathers who were ages 31 to 35 and 30 and under, respectively, than those born to fathers who were over 35.

The researchers suggested that as the children aged, their lipid profiles could "deteriorate further later in life, placing them at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease in adulthood."

Causality wasn't determined, however, the investigators suggested it could have been because certain genes responsible for growth and metabolism in the fathers' sperm changed as they aged.

Other Links Between Father's Age and Child's Health

A father's age at the time of his child's birth has also been linked to other conditions, including autism and schizophrenia. Authors of a study from August 2012 looked at the genomes of 78 families, consisting of a mother, father, and child.

It found that fathers passed de novo — spontaneous — genetic mutations down to their children about four times as much as mothers did. The researchers also found that as the father got older, his risk for passing these mutations down increased, specifically a 20-year-old father passed down about 50 percent less mutated genes than a 36-year-old father.

"The older we are as fathers, the more likely we will pass on our mutations," lead author Kári Stefánsson said. "The more mutations we pass on, the more likely that one of them is going to be deleterious."

Source: Savage T, Derraik J, Miles L, et al. Increasing paternal age at childbirth is associated with taller stature and less favourable lipid profiles in their children. Clinical Endocrinology. 2013.